A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California

Snakes In Movies

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Snakes in Movies
Lizards in Movies
Turtles in Movies
Amphibians in Movies
Alligators and Crocodiles
in Movies
Snake Face
All Movie Snakes
Must Die!
All Movie Snakes
Want to Kill You!
Snake Bites
Snakes Used
as Weapons
Giant Monster Snakes with a Taste
for Human Flesh
Pet Snakes
Snakes Used
to Shock Us
Dancing With Snakes
Snake Charmers
Snake People
Snakes Used Realistically
Snakes Used for
Food or Medicine
Snake Fights
Shooting Snakes
Throwing and
Whipping Snakes
Black Mambas
Boas, Pythons,
and Anacondas

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Snake Dancer (Glenda) (1976)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
Snake Dancer Snake Dancer Snake Dancer
Snake Dancer Castle of Blood Snake Dancer
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Snake Dancer Snake Dancer Snake Dancer
Snake Dancer Snake Dancer Snake Dancer
This movie is based on the story of a real South African woman named Glenda Kemp (who plays herself) who fought the authorities for the right to dance nude with snakes in the 1970s. It's called "Snake Dancer" so I had to see it, but you don't. It has lots of snake scenes, of course, and lots of dancing with and with out snakes, and with and without clothing, but, and I never thought I'd ever say this, there is probably too much nude dancing in this movie, although I suspect that's why most people watch it. Mostly I just felt sorry for the snakes, which probably don't want someone to suck on their head and wave them around. I watched a Mondo Macabro DVD, a company that releases bizarre movies from around the world. This one was made in South Africa, but it's not weird because it deals with anything supernatural or bizarre. It's weird only because it involves a young girl who likes snakes and grows up to do a provocative nude dance performance with snakes. Glenda calls it artistic performance, and maybe it is - in one of her nude dances she holds the snake while eating a green apple, in another she uses a devil hand puppet, but the South African authorites call it pornographic and the vice squad keeps trying to stop her. Basically, she becomes a courageous civil rights activist fighting for artistic freedom and the right to express herself on stage performing with snakes wrapped around her nude body. This was in a very conservate 1970s South Africa where Apartheid was still fully in place. That's obvious in the movie which shows no black South Africans anywhere. Maybe there was an Apartheid law in the movies, too. That would not be surprising given the similarly absurd and intolerant censorship code that was enforced in American movies for 30 years.

The movie starts with Glenda as a young girl, stopping to pet a wild python she finds in the woods. Then she shows her mother a small snake she caught, but her mother's boyfriend stomps it to death, telling her little girls shouldn't play with snakes - they kill people. Glenda starts go-go dancing for money, and realizes all she wants to do is dance. She asks her brother to get her a python to dance with, so he steals one from a zoo. She shocks everybody by pulling a snake out of a basket and dancing with it. But it was her later nude dancing that shocked the law into prosecuting her. There are also the usual subplots about a boyfriend outraged that she dances publically, a club owner who exploits her, and a brother whose gambling debts she has to pay. Everything in the movie, even the snake scenes, is believable. It's based on a true story and they probably changed the facts considerably as movies always do, but nothing seemed implausable. Until the ending, which I need to give away here. After losing a court trial and not knowing what to do next, she talks to her estranged boyfriend on the phone while lying in bed. She tells him the pythons escaped their cage, then they agree to get married. He runs to the flower shop and comes into her bedroom with a big bouquet of flowers only to find her dead in bed, choked to death by the escaped pythons which climbed up onto her bed, wrapped themselves around her neck, and killed her for absolutely no comprehensible reason. It was almost funny because it was so bad and unexpected. I've seen the same idiotic depiction of snakes killing people for no reason many times in movies, but I expected more from this one which had depicted snakes in a realistic way until then. And since she was an experienced snake handler by then, she could have easily stopped them. I can only guess that we're supposed to agree with the man who told her little girls shouldn't play with snakes, which seems to defeat her entire story.

I think the pythons used in the movie were African Rock Pythons, native to South Africa.

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